Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza made it plenty clear which MLS conference he thinks is tougher in an interview published on FutbolMLS.com over the weekend, telling the site that he sees the West as the stronger of the league’s two divisions.
“The West is the most difficult [conference] in MLS,” said Espinoza, who will be in action with SKC for a Wednesday night home title against the Colorado Rapids (8:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE). “There are a lot of big teams and each year one of these big teams finishes out of the playoffs."
One team that has emerged as one of the best in the conference in recent years is FC Dallas, who won the West regular-season title in 2015 before advancing to the conference finals in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Espinoza hasn’t had to face the revamped FCD side much since returning from England for his second stint with Sporting last summer, but the 29-year-old Honduran international is still a big fan of how Oscar Pareja’s team has come together.
SKC will meet FCD later this week, when they travel to Texas to take them on at Toyota Stadium on Sunday night (7 pm ET, FS1 in the US, MLS LIVE in Canada).
“FC Dallas is the most complicated team [in the West],” Espinoza said. “They have Latin blood and they play real good soccer.”
While he’s not above giving love to some Western rivals, Espinoza understands the high expectations that come with being in Kansas City, and feels plenty of pressure to help bring more trophies back to Children’s Mercy Park.
“The expectation of the club [Sporting KC] is to be champions. The city expects this,” Espinoza said. “The women’s team [FC Kansas City], the baseball team [Kansas City Royals] and our team have been champions. Sporting Kansas City has to win every competition that it plays."